An “image dissector tube” from the Farnsworth Pickup Camera, 1936. Via archive.org.
A few interesting images, via this great-looking show “Data (after)Lives: The Persistence of Encoded Identity” at the University of Pittsburgh.
Above, Francis Galton’s notation for fingerprints from this book; below, his own fingerprints arranged in a paw-like formation.
Can’t get enough of this cover from Beginner’s BASIC, from 1979.
Images from a wonderful booklet put out by Speedball in 1940, demonstrating hand-lettering techniques. There are lots of different styles in the book, but particularly wonderful are the Gothic ones with ghost-pens.
Download the full booklet as a PDF.
In 2nd grade, I participated in an after school mentoring program and learned some Logo. I found this gem recently, a workbook that I filled out as I wrote code. I really like the mix of printed page, code, and hand-drawn… a lot like my work now, actually.
Here’s the full workbook, if you’re interested.
I gave in and bought this amazing box set of solar forecasting maps. Contained in two cases with 18 portfolios in each, they include reproductions of hand-drawn maps from 1957. Amazing attention to detail, superb printing quality, and overall just a beautiful (albeit heavy) object.
A machine for generating paths like the ones below. From 1851, via Kinematics Of Mechanisms From The Time of Watt by Eugene S Ferguson on Project Gutenberg.
The cover from the 1959 book “General Shop For Everyone”. Totally love the color and typography.
From “Gulliver’s Travels”, part 3, chapter 5:
“The first professor I saw, was in a very large room, with forty pupils about him. After salutation, observing me to look earnestly upon a frame, which took up the greatest part of both the length and breadth of the room, he said, “Perhaps I might wonder to see him employed in a project for improving speculative knowledge, by practical and mechanical operations. But the world would soon be sensible of its usefulness; and he flattered himself, that a more noble, exalted thought never sprang in any other man’s head. Every one knew how laborious the usual method is of attaining to arts and sciences; whereas, by his contrivance, the most ignorant person, at a reasonable charge, and with a little bodily labour, might write books in philosophy, poetry, politics, laws, mathematics, and theology, without the least assistance from genius or study.” He then led me to the frame, about the sides, whereof all his pupils stood in ranks. It was twenty feet square, placed in the middle of the room. The superfices was composed of several bits of wood, about the bigness of a die, but some larger than others. They were all linked together by slender wires. These bits of wood were covered, on every square, with paper pasted on them; and on these papers were written all the words of their language, in their several moods, tenses, and declensions; but without any order. The professor then desired me “to observe; for he was going to set his engine at work.” The pupils, at his command, took each of them hold of an iron handle, whereof there were forty fixed round the edges of the frame; and giving them a sudden turn, the whole disposition of the words was entirely changed. He then commanded six-and-thirty of the lads, to read the several lines softly, as they appeared upon the frame; and where they found three or four words together that might make part of a sentence, they dictated to the four remaining boys, who were scribes. This work was repeated three or four times, and at every turn, the engine was so contrived, that the words shifted into new places, as the square bits of wood moved upside down.
Six hours a day the young students were employed in this labour; and the professor showed me several volumes in large folio, already collected, of broken sentences, which he intended to piece together, and out of those rich materials, to give the world a complete body of all arts and sciences; which, however, might be still improved, and much expedited, if the public would raise a fund for making and employing five hundred such frames in Lagado, and oblige the managers to contribute in common their several collections.
He assured me “that this invention had employed all his thoughts from his youth; that he had emptied the whole vocabulary into his frame, and made the strictest computation of the general proportion there is in books between the numbers of particles, nouns, and verbs, and other parts of speech.””
Above: an illustration of the text-generating machine, from the text.